September in Brittany

imageSeptember is the favoured time for me and the other half to go on holiday. The kids have gone back to school and the weather is still warm enough to risk venturing to north west France and we were, indeed, very lucky with the weather – it was beautiful.

We took the overnight  ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo, which takes eleven hours but the sea was like a mill pond and we had a cabin which although small, was perfectly comfortable. We arrived in St Malo at 8.30, in time for breakfast, taken outside in the sunshine in a typical French cafe. Then knowing that we had all day to explore the town, we took our time and found the Fort National, originally constructed by an engineer called Vauban in 1689 to keep the English and other marauders at bay! image

St Malo itself, is a very well preserved medieval walled town with ramparts that you can walk all the way around. We took a leisurely stroll around the whole city wall,  after an early lunch of crepes and Breton cider which to my amazement was served in cups from a jar! I later found out this is a tradition of Brittany. imageOur campsite was a forty minute drive from the port (because I knew the other half didn’t want to drive much on holiday) which would have taken less, if we hadn’t missed a turning. But all in all, the transfer was quite easy. imageWe were taken to our holiday home by a young Scots guy on his bicycle, who once we got to our Row, he forgot what number we were and had to go back to the office while we waited. We were happy once we got into our new home; especially when we found out that it had two bathrooms, so one each – pure heaven! The campsite itself was set in huge grounds with a Chateau, (Des Ormes) complete with its own helicopter and golf course. There was also a hotel, which we had a very nice meal in one night, as a treat. There were various eateries and a bar, which we frequented because it had free wifi (not being able to live without social media for a whole week!) which provided “live” entertainment (basically the staff) and live footy, whether you liked it or not. The best night for me down the bar, was the karaoke night; not that I embarrassed myself by participating  on the stage, but I did enjoy a good singalong from the comfort of my seat. Des Ormes also boasted an inside swimming pool and an outside pool with a wave machine, which I actually was able to use due to the lovely warm, sunny afternoons.

Pool area at Des Ormes

Pool area at Des Ormes.                                                                           

The main reason I wanted to visit Brittany though, was to go to Le Mont de St Michel. Since I first visited Normandy, 25 years ago, I have wanted to make the trip. And I was not disappointed. A new causeway has been built recently and strange shaped shuttle buses ferry passengers from the main car park across the vast expanse of sand to the mount. I was surprised that people actually live there; I thought it was just a tourist attraction, but no, there’s a whole community of restaurants, shops and homes.

The odd shaped shuttle buses at Mont St Michel

The odd shaped shuttle buses at Mont St Michel.                                                        

The view from the top of the Abbey, which you pay a small fee for, was stunning – just miles and miles of sand.

Le Mont de St Michel with its mikes and miles of sand

Le Mont de St Michel with its mikes and miles of sand.                                             

Another place we visited was the capital of Brittany, Rennes. It’s best known for its medieval architecture and we spent the whole day exploring the sights with a free map that we got from the tourist office. This is when I think my other half should have been a tour guide because he comes into his own and marches me around, not missing a single landmark! I got a bit narked when I got hungry, then he had to feed and water me before I would carry on!

The Medieval architecture of Rennes

The Medieval architecture of Rennes.                                                            

Some more random sights around Rennes

Jan in Rue Le Bastard!, a random astronaut and more buildings

Jan in Rue Le Bastard!, a random astronaut and more buildings.                                    

It wasn’t long before I missed the sea. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel I’m on holiday without the sea? So it was my turn to pick a place to visit the next day. As I knew there was a Saturday market on in Dol de Bretagne (and I do love a French market) we went there in the morning. I was a little upset to see live chickens and other birds in cramped cages for sale. Also rabbits and guinea pigs were available to buy in the market. I didn’t take photos, as I didn’t agree with the practice.

The Saturday market at Dol de Bretagne

The Saturday market at Dol de Bretagne.                                                         

After a very heavy lunch in a kebab, come Indian restaurant, we headed north towards Dinard and finally, the seaside! Dinard has a casino and also hosts a film festival every year, as well as having a rather large harbour. It was lovely to sit in a little promenade bar and sip wine, whilst watching children play in the sand and the locals playing boules.

The lovely beach at Dinard

The lovely beach at Dinard.                                                                      

On the last day, the weather was due to turn; in fact Saturday was also meant to rain but somehow, we escaped it. Jan wanted to visit a working windmill (or Moulin) that we had passed on the way back from Mont St Michel, and a chateau he had found on Google, that was meant to be the largest in Europe. Considering he didn’t want to drive much, he was really getting into it!

A working windmill (moulin) with the Mont St Michel in the background

A working windmill (moulin) with the Mont St Michel in the background.                            

I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting the tour was from the resident Miller. image

Last but not least, we visited the Chateau de Fougeres, where I sampled another Breton delicacy of Gallettes and Breton cider, in a cup again. We spent a few hours here and I have to admit, I was hoping it would be one of those grand chateaux that is home to the filthy rich. Instead it was a proper castle, although in good condition, wasn’t my cup of tea but I humoured him indoors, after all, it was his holiday too!

Château Fougeres

Château Fougeres.                                                                                

All good things must come to an end and the next day we made our way towards St Malo for the ferry home on the Brittany ferries ship Bretagne. The return journey was far from smooth and I was glad that we had booked some reclining seats. I was so glad I had a new book to start, so had a good excuse to stay seated, for when I did try to walk about, it was like walking on a waltzer! I don’t get sea sick, luckily,  but when I visited the ladies , there was a poor girl who was suffering badly from the Mal de Mer. I offered her some Kwells but she was too far gone!

The rocky ride home!

The rocky ride home!

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13 Responses to September in Brittany

  1. Wanda Needes says:

    Looks like a lovely place to visit…..thanks for sharing. x

  2. Jacqueline says:

    I enjoyed reading your text and seeing the pictures which brought happy memories of staying in that area. I think it is a lovely place and like you I like Mont St Michel. Have you visited the Cornish version of St. Michael’s Mount? Very different.

  3. jennypellett says:

    A lovely round up of your holiday, reminding me of lots of places I’ve loved. St Malo was where I had oysters for the first time – very memorable – and I remember getting lost somewhere on the way to Rennes. When we finally arrived we had the most wonderful lunch in a cafe in the square there. Funny how most of my reminiscing is food related!

  4. Joelle Randall says:

    You are right Britanny is a lovely place and September is perfect for going there.

    We eat a variety of foods but I am not sure guinea pigs are one of them !

  5. kaypickard says:

    Hi Joelle, Guinea pigs – yuk!! Poor things, I don’t think they were for eating (although you never know) I’m very glad to hear from you because I was worried about you in the floods. Were you affected? Are you OK?

  6. Joelle Randall says:

    Hi Kay,

    Thanks we are fine. The floods did not reach us. It was mainly in the Nice and Cannemy eldess area. In any cae we were back in the UK already. We had to get back earlier than usual as wee had our own flood in our house here ! the water tank burst in July and the house was a complete mess !

    Apart from that everything is fine. We are taking the family to Cuba in February to celebrate our older daughter’s 40th birthday. That makes me feel very old :{ . We will be going to Varadero with the odd trip to Havana.

    If you are in London sometimes, give me a shout. Would love to see you again.

    • kaypickard says:

      Hi Joelle,
      Glad you didn’t get caught in the storms in France but how ironic you had to come back to your own! Hope it’s sorted now. So jealous you are going to Cuba again but you don’t look old enough to have a daughter of 40! I will look you up next time in London, say hi to Colin for me, Kay xxx

  7. Joelle does more typos than I! Enjoyed reading of your Breton trip, Kay, and the incidental reminder of our lovely shared holiday in Cuba, just in time before the Americans arrive en masse, go home with all those wonderful old cars, wreck the charm of the island and leave trail of Starbucks and McDonalds in its place

    • kaypickard says:

      Hi Colin, lovely to hear from you! I was just having my lunch break and saw your name pop up! Glad you are going back to Cuba again (and jealous!) but hopefully it hasn’t changed that much yet! Thanks for your comments 😊😊😊

  8. It sounds a memorable holiday, Kay, love the photos too. Glad to catch up on the missed blog!

    • kaypickard says:

      Thanks Diane. To be honest, I think I need to look at the widgets, or whatever they are called because they could be set up wrong! Jenny said that she missed a few as well 😥😥

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